GB’s Cards of Hope initiative

It’s been one year since more than 250 young women were kidnapped from their boarding school in Nigeria by Boko Haram. Today, 219 young women remain missing. At least six of them are members of GB. Many feel that all hope is lost for these young women. But we serve a God who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians Ch.3:20).

Join with Girls’ Brigade International and help turn up the volume of hope for the Chibok girls. GB is inviting you to participate in a collective positive action which will ensure that these girls are not forgotten by people in positions of influence.

Making a Card of Hope as an individual, in your GB company or even as part of a church service is simple. Just download the resource pack and cards below. Once you’ve made it, contact your GB national office or national representative to find out if your GB country is collecting them centrally as part of a national campaign. If not, you could send them directly to the head of your government or another appropriate person of influence along with a letter explaining the purpose of the Cards of Hope.

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By creating a Card of Hope, you’ll be saying ‘I’ve not forgotten you.’ You’ll also be reminding people in positions of influence not to forget either!
GB International has launched this resource in response to other countries wanting to participate in GB England & Wales’ successful Cards of Hope campaign.

Since January 2015, around 2,500 Cards of Hope have been made and sent in by 100 GB groups in England & Wales. On 17 March 2015, an 18-strong delegation of hope, made up of GB members, leaders and supporters of all ages, went to London to present some of the cards to Baroness Joyce Anelay at the UK Foreign Office, and the door of Number 10 Downing Street, the home of the UK Prime Minister. You can read more here on the Girls’ Brigade England & Wales website.

The 219 young women represent a small fraction of the many thousands of lives which have been affected by Boko Haram’s campaign of violence.

Let’s continue to turn up the volume of hope for the Chibok girls as well as pray for the wider instability in Nigeria.

Will you choose to spread hope today?

Download the Cards for Hope files:

ICONZ4girls

Some say that necessity is the mother of invention, and in 2007 the Boys’ Brigade (BB) in New Zealand sensed the need to develop a new approach for church to take in connecting with boys in their communities.

Against a backdrop of falling church attendance amongst boys, and a lessening involvement with BB, ICONZ was born

As the initiative developed the call for a girls provision emerged and BB invited GB New Zealand to develop ICONZ4girls (IFG)

Putting their combined ideas and the new ICONZ resources into this development resulted, within 2 years, in the GBNZ team launching the first IFG Unit (iconz4girlz).

IFG is based on GB’s world-wide Aims, Principles, and Vision and is ‘A life development programme’ for girls.

Each unit is developed by the local church team, as a fun way to reach out to girls in the community, providing an engaging mix of holistic activities and adventure

IFG launched at Northpoint Baptist Church, Taranaki, and Joana Elliot who leads the group there says this:

“I had the privilege of being involved in starting up the first IFG group in the world. WOW what an adventure we have had, it is a privilege to mentor and share with these girls”

Glenda, another IFG leader notes :

“The name has created real interest from adults as well as girls. The logo is bright and fun and the fast moving and flexible program really engages the girls. The way ICONZ4girls operates means that church really are involved with us in this initiative and we have great support from them, both financially and spiritually.”

IFG works in age groups – Explore 5-7 years, Adventure 8-10 years, Challenge 11-13 years and Ultimate 14 years and over.  It marries in to other schemes like Duke of Edinburgh Award, Hillary’s Award, and young women can combine Ultimate with Leadership training too.

For more news and stories from IFG check out the website www.iconz4girlz.org.nz

Friendship Day

‘GB Friendship Day 2011’ marked the start of an initiative launched by GB’s Singapore team to connect GB girls and leaders to the community and to serve and befriend Lonely, Elderly, Needy and those with Special Needs (LENS).

The first event saw around two thousand people involved, with GB girls and leaders managing to  feed over 1,000 local community people in just one day.

Girls were stretched to use their skills and gifts to deliver the project, and very many lives were enriched as GB reached out in their community. This is why the Singapore team intends to grow the initiative further.

As part of the Friendship Day project the team has developed a specially designed resource to use as part of their GB curriculum. It equips GB girls with skills and understanding about serving others and provides girls with opportunities to demonstrate the values of humility, compassion, responsibility and service.

Girls are being helped to see how they can be involved in transforming other people’s lives through their own actions. For example choosing to sometimes give their own lunch money to the project will enable rice and other food to be bought to feed others at the next friendship day. Giving their time to prepare food will help the event to happen. Talking to the elderly guests will help alleviate loneliness.

GB partnered with the Singapore charity Willing Hearts to run the first event, linking in to their experience in cooking and distributing meals to the needy. Feedback about the event shows that the girls involved were really impacted by the project

“What impacted me the most were the smiles of the elderly. Out of the 365 days in the year, GB Headquarters was only hosting them for one day. Yet, they were still grateful and very happy.”  Michele Chang

“All the GB girls worked together to serve the 1,000 elderly which brought unity and strengthened the ties among us.”  Lin Yan Fan

With thanks to 84th Singapore Company [Singapore Chinese Girls’ School] for their contribution to this information

For more news of the project see the GB Singapore website

Nexus

Nexus is being pioneered by GB England and Wales, for young women aged 18-30.

It is growing into a community for young women, a place where 18 – 30’s can engage with one another, enjoy friendship, discover more about God, encourage one another to grow, plan activities and events together and be a God-voice into the world about issues that affect girls and women.

Nexus:

  • believes in being relational. Jesus loved people in authentic ways. Authentic relationships with one another, and with God, matters
  • believes in being relevant. Jesus was always relevant to his context, and 18-30’s want to engage with faith in ways that makes sense to their situations and their experience of the world
  • believes in being responsive. Jesus responded to individuals, situations and groups at their point of need to bring restoration. GB, through Nexus wants to engage with and respond to the real lives of young women in this generation, bringing hope and restoration.

Why Nexus?

Within the UK Church, the 18-30s generation is known as ‘the missing generation.’

An increasing number of 18 – 30’s have never engaged with church at all.

For those in church, both in and out of GB, being 18 – 30 can feel isolating. Their church may seem old, or young. It may be a place where women have little voice or opportunity to lead. Often in their local GB they are the only leader their age.

Although many 18 -30’s in GB do become leaders, this is not the majority.  Many young women leave their ‘home GB’ during these years.  Their lives are often busy and transient and many don’t necessarily feel ready or able to become GB leaders. Some move for employment or study. They often lose their connection with us, and with faith too.

These are the reasons for Nexus. It is a connecting point for 18-30 young women

Nexus story so far

It’s started with a group of GB young women away at university in the same city. They discovered each other and decided to be a support group .

Here’s a glimpse of how it has developed – from Charlotte

 In June 2011, four of us sat together around a table in a coffee shop. We didn’t know each other but we had one thing in common – Girls’ Brigade. We were the first members of the GB 18-30s Oxford Nexus! We sat talking for ages, excited about this new venture – what would Nexus become? What would it mean for us? We decided to meet every two weeks, to fit around our busy student schedules, and to alternate between Bible studies and socials. Leaving the coffee shop that evening, I knew I’d made three new friends, and couldn’t wait to meet with the Nexus ladies again!

There are now eight of us in the Oxford Nexus, and we are a mixture of students and professionals aged 18 – 30. Most of us had never met before being part of Nexus, but now we enjoy each other’s’ company, spending time together that’s full of laughter! We come from different walks of life, and from all over the country; some of us are still involved local GB, some visit our groups back home, and others have lost touch with GB as we transition into this next period of our life. Nexus is our GB now!

We’ve had chocolate parties, played on the Wii, and chatted for hours… every time we meet wehave a lot of fun! We share the responsibility of leading the rest of the group in a Bible study, and Jesus is at the centre of our fellowship as we are learning more about following him in our lives.’

For Jade it’s started as a group of young mums getting together.  Jade is 21, and a mum of two. Her connections are with other young mums, few of whom have church background. Having been in Girls’ Brigade she’d heard of Nexus and so decided to work with a local church to develop a group for these women.  They are practically supported by GB in the area, and the group is providing opportunity for this group of 18-30’s to explore Christian faith and share support as mums.

It’s started with social days out for 18 -30’s advertised on GB England and Wales website. New friendships were made …and more events began to be planned

It’s started with an email newsletter written especially for GB’s 18 – 30’s . This mailing list is growing and these women are connected by news and invitations to attend events and initiatives relevant to them.

It’s started with opportunities for 18 – 30’s to join in with various other initiatives; the Fizz mission team, History Makers course, the GB Europe Executive, The European Fellowship of Christian Youth, GB’s trustee board, the first ever GB ‘Gathering’ in South Africa, November 2013.

For more info on how you could get involved in Nexus contact claire.rush@girlsbrigadeew.org.uk

And, watch out for the Nexus online community, launching in 2014!

FIZZ International

The FIZZ Initiative, part of Girls’ Brigade Europe, mobilises a new generation of women to serve communities around the world; joining, pioneering and enabling projects that restore hope for life.

‘I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. ……. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community liveable again.’ Isaiah 58:9 (The Message)

Through FIZZ, Girls’ Brigade is committed to:

  1. Empower women to join in God’s mission, in His world
  2. Provide women with opportunities to become and grow as disciples
  3. Enable transformation within individuals and communities.

Trip to Kosova

One of the outworkings of this is the FIZZ mission team trips to Kosova and, last summer, 45 women from GB Europe served out there.

Situated in the Balkan region of Europe, Kosova was part of a horrific ethnic conflict in 1999 which caused the deaths of around 11,000 people and left many families emotionally and financially devastated.

GB’s summer mission teams help restore hope for life by organising holiday Bible Clubs for local children, distributing aid to widows, participating in mission events with churches and assisting with the running of the three GB companies in Kosova, and develop the mission team idea.

Heidi Cooper, from Girls’ Brigade England and Wales, reflects on her experience last year:

‘This was my second trip to Kosova and being part of the GB FIZZ teams out there. After my return from Kosova last year I couldn’t stop thinking about the place or the people and was so determined to go back.’

Gifts with a Difference

You can support our GB Worldwide FIZZ Project by buying a gift with a difference. Your gift donations are greatly appreciated and contribute to fulfilling the global vision of GB: ‘Girls’ lives transformed, God’s world enriched.’

Examples of gifts include:

  • £3 will enable GB to buy a special gift such as a ball/skipping rope/colouring pens for a child in Kosova.
  • £7 will enable GB to purchase an Albanian Kids’ Bible for use in church and GB.
  • £10 will cover the transport costs for a GB leader in Kosova to attend training

If you want to get involved in this great project, download our Gifts with a Difference flyer.

Join in!

If you’re aged 16 plus why not apply to join our summer mission teams in Kosova? The FIZZ activities include:

  • children’s work
  • visiting widows
  • aid distribution
  • sharing about Girls’ Brigade
  • learning about and sharing faith

The Fizz Application Pack includes a flyer, information leaflet, and application forms as a ZIP file